Lismore council dumps plan for Nimbin horse riding trail

UPDATE: LISMORE City Council has decided to discontinue its investigation to purchase Hutchinson Road, a Crown Lands "paper road" in Nimbin.

The council was asked to take control of the land because it was an important link in a proposed horse and walking trail.

Instead council voted to try to facilitate talks between the landowners and the Australian Long Forest Association, which is proposing the trail.

SPECIAL INTEREST: Miranda Williamson and Katrina Wood from ALFA (Australian Long Forrest Association) at the site of the proposed trail.
SPECIAL INTEREST: Miranda Williamson and Katrina Wood from ALFA (Australian Long Forrest Association) at the site of the proposed trail. Patrick Gorbunovs

March 11: A PROPOSAL to create a network of trails for wildlife and non-motorised transport may be dead before it begins, according to Miranda Williamson from the Australian Long Forest Association (ALFA).

The group approached Lismore Council last December to investigate purchasing Hutchison Rd, a Crown Lands "paper road" that was being offered for sale to a private landowner.

Ms Williamson said the road was an important link in the network and if sold, it would effectively kill the project before it got off the ground.

ALFA has mapped Crown Land tracks around the Nimbin area with a view to creating an eco-tourism market.

Their aim is to attract horse riders, bushwalkers and non-motorised cyclists to experience the landscape and also to benefit wildlife.

"The long forest is a concept for our time. It combines an echo of the Long Paddock (stock route) from a bygone era with the greater environmental consciousness of a new age," Ms Williamson said.

ALFA has been quietly working away on the project since 2007 but the proposed sale of Hutchison Rd brought the issue to a critical juncture.

Lismore Council requested Crown Lands put the sale on hold while they investigated taking control of the road and negotiating an agreement with ALFA or the Nimbin Neighbourhood Centre so there was no maintenance costs.

But after investigating the site, Cr Neil Marks has a motion before council tonight that they discontinue their investigation and notify landowners accordingly.

He said he still supports the idea of creating a network of trails for horse riders and other users, but that this was not the place to start.

He said it would cut the property in half, introduce biosecurity threats to a neighbouring fruit grower and prove difficult to find an insurer who would cover it for the proposed uses.

But Ms Williamson said Cr Marks had not read their submission, which was to request Crown Lands re-route the road around the property boundary. She also said insurance was available through organisations such as Equestrian NSW and Bushwalking NSW.

She said nobody from ALFA has had an opportunity to address the council or landowners.

"Years of work have gone in to this and it would be a crying shame if it was lost forever because they (the council) have dismissed it without even sending us an email," she said.

Topics:  farming horses lismore city council tourism wildlife